Pain on the campaign trail

By Anna Yee

November 6, 2012 Updated Nov 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Rally after rally... state after state... a walk along the campaign trail is no easy feat, no matter whose shoes you're wearing.

"You go without meals," said US Rep. Aaron Schock, (R) IL, 18th District. "You go without sleep, but I can sleep after Tuesday night."

In the last days of the race, many candidates are working seven days a week, sometimes more than 12 hours a day.

"Well, at this stage, we're in the last week of the campaign, I'm exhausted," said State Senator Dave Koehler, (D) 46th District, "but... you have to keep your stamina up. You have to pace yourself. It's just an important part of how you campaign."

Pat Sullivan says he goes door-to-door to more than 50 houses each night.

"I've went through three pairs of shoes," said Sullivan, (R) St. Senate candidate for 46th Dist. "I've lost some weight. So I needed this."

Staying in shape is key for most contenders.

"I go to the YMCA every morning," said Cheri Bustos, (D) US Rep. candidate for Illinois' 17th Dist. "I'm up by 4:30 every morning. It doesn't matter what we've had the night before. I try to eat healthy and keep a positive attitude. My health hasn't suffered one bit."

"You've really got to be careful of what you eat," said incumbent US Rep. Bobby Schilling, (R) IL 17th Dist. "Stay away from all the chicken and eat as many salads as you can. And stay in contact with your family back home."

91st District State Rep candidate Jennifer Allison has gotten creative spending time with her four-year-old daughter.

"Maybe we're not sitting at home playing as much," said Allison, "but we're going bike riding, walking door-to-door instead."

Candidates say running a successful campaign comes down two things: volunteers and money, a lot of it.

In fact, the tab for this year's election is breaking records, with overall federal campaign spending projected at $6 billion, and some local races in the millions.

...A costly price tag to gain your vote.

"There's a reason is the way it is," said Allison. "It's preparation for the future."